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Monday, February 8, 2010

Sleep Apnea Appliances Can Help Resolve TMJ Clicking and Improve Headache Symptoms

Patients with morning headaches usually have either TMJ disorders or Sleep Apnea. Sleep Apnea can be treated with CPAP or an Oral Appliance. Patients who have TM Joint clicking and are undergoing treatment for headaches or TMD can benefit in several ways from having a night-time apnea appliance and a daytime neuromuscular orthotic.

A problem that is sometimes encountered with oral appliances for sleep apnea are undesired bite changes. These changes can actually be helpful when treating TMJ clicking and popping and headaches. The bite changes that occur are actuallly the healing of the TM Joint. The jaw usually postures forward unloadding the retrodiscal lamina of the TM Joint that is compressed in patients with clicking. The retrodiscal lamina rehydrates and does not let the condyle go into retrusive pathology which serves to stabilize the disk.

The Daytime appliance allows this position to stabilize and heal. In patients who are not undergoing treatment exercises are done to prevent this healing from occuring. The joints will frequently heal if placed in a healthy position. A recent paper showed no damage to the joints with sleep appliances.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that dentists fitting patients with oral appliances for sleep apnea be well versed in treating TMJ disorders. There are many good reasons for this recomendation. Dentists who do not uderstand how bite changes affect the joints and the muscles as well as head posture can create difficult problems they do not have the expertise to treat. Please check my I HATE CPAP website (http://www.ihatecpap.com) for more information about the dangers of sleep apnea and on how oral appliances are used in treating sleep apnea.

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posted by Dr Shapira at 1:56 PM

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